Uber is seeking a new insurance and licensing regulation to be put in place, with the company threatening to leave Alberta if it is not legalized. Edmonton voted last month to legalize the UberX service and now Uber is saying consumers and drivers should push for Alberta to make that legalization possible or it may be forced out of the province.
As part of the decision to legalize Uber on March 1, Uber agreed with the Edmonton City Council that it would stop operating in the city in the meantime, and that all drivers must have legal auto insurance. At the moment, Uber drivers in Canada do not have auto insurance coverage, although Aviva Canada is debuting its unique ride-sharing policy in Ontario this month.
Without Alberta adopting new bylaws that allow ride-sharing service to be legalized for insurance, Uber becoming a regulated and legal business in the Edmonton is impossible. Rather than continue operating, as it has in other provinces, Uber is saying it would instead have to pull out of the province entirely. Not wanting to do that, the company is urging its drivers and considerable consumer base into pressuring the provincial NDP into changing the legislation.
“If the provincial government doesn’t act on driver’s licensing and insurance before this bylaw comes into effect on March 1, Uber will be forced to cease operating in Alberta,” spokesperson Jean-Christophe de Le Rue said in a statement.
The province has said that it is looking at the current legislation and is considering changing laws to allow insurance for ride-sharing companies such as Uber. However, the government has not put a timeline on when a decision will be made and said it will not give a timeline even if pressured.
“Alberta is committed to finding an appropriate solution allowing ride-share companies to operate in a fair manner, while also protecting drivers, passengers, and other road users,” said a statement from the office of Transportation Minister Brian Mason.
“Government is currently looking at options.”